The week of my healing treatments is hard. Very hard. Following the Monday morning infusion, I spend the rest of the week exhausted, achy, slightly queasy, and pissed off that I have kanswer. I get really angry about the kanswer thing. But this week is different - because it is my last one!!! Thanks be to God!
The treatment I underwent this past Monday varied from the previous five rounds in one crucially important aspect: I did not receive the drug that causes the numbness in my hands and feet. The oncologist informed me that the worse the numbness gets, the less likely it is that it will ever go away. So when he offered me the option to forego that dastardly drug on this last round, what do you think I said??? I still feel pretty crappy today, as I always do on the Thursday of treatment week, but there is more hope in today's crappiness!
That last sentence may be the oddest one I have ever written... but it is true: in spite of today's crappiness, I feel a deep sense of hope and also of gratitude.
Today, I am grateful for:
* the sunshine that is brightening my bedroom as I write this
* the ease of borrowing books and movies from the library
* the pale green quilt thrown casually over my ice cold, slightly numb feet
* how easy it is to spend hours watching Iron Chef America and Man vs. Food
* the freedom and space that result from decluttering
* the ways in which so many dreams are coming true - books published (go Glennon!), exhibitions put up in galleries (go Pamela!), and even an appearance on Oprah (go Brene!)
* the ability to watch them bring their dreams to life without any nagging sense of jealousy or envy (most of the time!)
* the peace the comes from knowing that this is my story - right here, right now - and consciously making the choice to live out this story as it is being written for me and through me, one day, one breath, one moment at a time
* the fact that I am able to take all this time and space to rest and recover from chemo. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to work full-time outside of the home and also be able to take gentle and tender care of oneself during treatment for this or any dis-ease.
* the ways in which my my eyes, my mind, and my heart are being opened to the suffering and needs of others because of my current situation
* the fact that my husband and children don't care about any kanswer-fighting diet - they know and still love "the old me" and they keep bringing me candy and cookies because that's the stuff that used to make me so happy
* the simple, complex, miraculous, life-altering, and profound gift of being seen, heard, and loved just as I am
* how frequently my most challenging moments occur at exactly the same time that someone is moved to write to me, call me, or check in here at the blog - and then they reach out and tell me about the synchronicity of the need and the prayer, the pain and the remembrance, the loneliness and the loving thought
* the knowledge that three weeks from now, I won't be recovering from another round of healing therapy
Kanswer sucks. So do so many things that all of us are dealing with. I've heard from many of you - financial challenges, recovery from surgery, broken relationships, children in distress, addiction, fear, loneliness - we all are dealing with something. I can't promise that things will get better. No one can. I can't promise that the job will come through before the next mortgage payment is due or that he will make the right choice or that the diagnosis will be in your favor.
One thing I know for sure is this - hope and joy are always possible. We can cling to faith. We can cling to each other. We can cling to God. I don't know about you, but I refuse to give up hope. I refuse to give up on the future. I refuse because I have the rest of my life to live. I have two teenagers yet to push out of the nest. I have a husband who has never given up on me. So how can I give up on him or them or myself? What else have we got, folks? What else have we got?
* One last thing - I am grateful to be alive.